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Kiss Me First Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 9, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (July 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385537476
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385537476
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #919,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Moggach’s taut psychological thriller opens with a video conversation between Leila, a socially isolated twentysomething, and Tess, glamorous and pushing 40. As the pages fly by, Moggach reveals that Leila has been recruited by Aiden, the mysterious owner of a website that focuses on philosophical discussion, to impersonate Tess online so that Tess can commit suicide without her friends and family being any wiser. Leila finds Tess to be quite different from her. She’s impulsive, worldly, more than a bit flighty, and genuinely determined to end her own life. After months of communication, Tess hands the reins to her online life over to Leila, and Leila crafts a fictional new chapter for Tess, thousands of miles away on a remote Canadian island. She also communicates with Tess’ friends via e-mail, but when an old boyfriend, Connor, makes contact to try to resume his relationship with Tess, Leila finds their correspondence chipping away at her impartiality with the most unexpected result: she’s falling in love with him. Moggach’s debut is a compulsively readable, complex character study. --Kristine Huntley

Review

"The first great internet novel . . . More than just a book about an early 21st-century lifestyle . . . Lottie Moggach’s mordantly well-observed debut, Kiss Me First . . . could be the first great novel about the way the internet has become a part of our lives, what it means, and how it has fundamentally altered the way we get along with each other . . . A gripping psychological novel." —Daily Beast
 
"A young rationalist named Leila narrates Lottie Moggach’s smart, absorbing debut Kiss Me First, which explores the nature of real and virtual relationships . .  Kiss Me First will attract readers with its up-to-the-minute Internet plot, but will keep them through its character-driven focus, psychological depth and fresh narrator. Moggach burrows into these characters’ heads so thoroughly that if anyone could pull off an online impersonation, she could." —Dallas News

“It’s the story’s everyday believability that makes Kiss Me First so chilling . . . As Leila becomes more and more fixated on her Internet persona, Moggach sucks us into the rabbit hole of her dangerous obsession with deftly timed twists and memorable characters.” —Entertainment Weekly, A-
 
“As Moggach’s debut chillingly demonstrates, the virtual world is scant protection from messy, utterly human emotions.” —People

“Moggach’s debut draws the reader into a . . . bizarre game of chance and deceit. . . . Moggach has drawn a young woman who is convincingly naïve in the ways of the world and incapable of making good decisions. The story crackles with tension . . . A sexy psychological thriller.” —Kirkus

“Moggach’s impressive debut, a gripping psychological thriller, is all the more disturbing for its plausibility. . . . Moggach’s skill in plotting means readers won’t anticipate the twists and turns built into the story, making for an intensely enjoyable reading experience. Memorable and fast-moving.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Fast-paced . . . a thriller that cuts to the quick as it explores the seductive power and limitations of a life lived online.
—Gemma Kappala-Ramsamy, The Observer

“You can't exactly call Lottie Moggach's debut, Kiss Me First,high-tech thriller. The mousy protagonist, Leila, isn't the hacker Lisbeth Salander is — she does most of her damage via Facebook and email. But it's the story's everyday believability that makes Kiss Me First so chilling. Leila, who's recently lost her only friend — her mother — is thrilled when a charismatic Web guru taps her to carry out an odd task: becoming the online presence of Tess, an alluring, disturbed real woman who wants to kill herself without her friends and family knowing. As Leila becomes more and more fixated on her Internet persona, Moggach sucks us into the rabbit hole of her dangerous obsession with deftly timed twists and memorable characters. A-
—Stephan Lee, Entertainment Weekly
 
Kiss Me First has deft, expert writing, a startlingly original plot, and two central characters—cerebral, sheltered, obsessive Leila and charismatic, unstable Tess—who leap off the page. This is a dark, disturbing, needle-sharp exploration of how the internet age is transforming our idea of reality and identity.” —Tana French, author of In The Woods and Broken Harbor
 
“Lottie Moggach’s very smart Kiss Me First is a moving coming of age story hidden within a harrowing mystery. Moggach explores a lot of dark territory—suicide, alienation, innocence betrayed—yet somehow she’s managed to write an unexpectedly warm-hearted novel. The book is narrated by Leila, a modern-day feral child, raised not by wolves or bears but the Internet. We watch as she makes her way in from her personal wilderness and teaches herself how to be human—how to know what love is, for instance, without first needing to Google it. The story’s suspense will keep you reading, but it’s Leila’s surprisingly emotional journey toward selfhood that will stick with you long after you’ve finished this wonderful first novel.” —Scott Smith, author of A Simple Plan and The Ruins
 
“With Leila, Lottie Moggach walks a wonderful line between sympathy and horror. Riveting and thought-provoking, Kiss Me First is the intelligent novel of the social media age I’ve been waiting for.” —Emma Chapman, author of How to Be a Good Wife
 
“Witty, suspenseful, satirical and bold. A Patricia Highsmith for the Facebook age.” —Polly Samson, author of Perfect Lives
 
“Unputdownable. A brilliant thriller.” —India Knight, author of Comfort and Joy
 
“A brave, poignant and humane novel about society’s taboos—and the cost of breaking them. Lottie Moggach has put her finger to the pulse of our times.” —Liz Jensen, author of The Rapture
 
“I tore through Lottie Moggach’s Kiss Me First. Gripping, quirky, twisty—quite a ride.” —Harriet Lane, author of Alys, Always
 
“A high-concept novel that really convinces and delivers. I was gripped from the first page, moved throughout, and swallowed the book whole.” —Erin Kelly, author of The Poison Tree and The Burning Air
 
 

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Nitty's Mom TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
After reading "Kiss Me First" I was baffled by the comments written by other authors. "Kiss Me First" was neither a sexy psychological thriller or dark and disturbing. What the book was instead, was a penetrating character study about two woman, who could not have been more different, whose lives interconnect through the internet.

Leila is a very socially backward, introverted 24 year old. She lives at home, taking care of her beloved mother, until her death from Multiple Sclerosis. Leila has no other family. She has 73 friends on Facebook, but as she notes "they weren't proper friends". After her mother's death, she spends her days playing games on line and eventually finds a link to a podcast run by a man named Adrian Dervish. It is on Red Pill, his chat forum for ethical debate, that Leila finds a purpose to her life. When Adrian asks to meet in person, Leila is obviously over the moon. Adrian tells Leila that he knows a woman who wants to commit suicide, however; wants to first employ someone to pretend to be her online. "Think of it as acting like a dimmer switch on her life", Adrian tells her.

Tess is the antisepsis of Leila. She is gutsy, erratic, promiscuous and is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Tess has tried the many prescription drugs available with little success. It is only when contemplating death that she feels free.

As Tess effectively takes control of her own death sentence, she slowly hands the details of her life over to Leila. Leila unknowingly begins a startling education about herself.

Kiss Me First has an interesting premise with two distinct woman characters. The author is certainly able to realistically portray each of their struggles.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Bristol VINE VOICE on August 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Twenty-something Leila, who has been feeling lonely since her mother passed of multiple sclerosis, is thrilled to discover Red Pill, an online forum devoted to philosophical debate. Since she's always found it difficult to connect with her peers, due to her inability to read social cues, Leila becomes engrossed with this new substitute, When the site's founder, Adrian, asks to meet her in person and recruits her for a project, she needs little prodding. But it's unorthodox enough that she does have a few misgivings: i.e. she'll gather information on a woman (described as "old" that is, in her thirties) who is bipolar and wants to end her life. Eventually, Leila will begin to impersonate her, using social media, after Tess announces to her family and friends that she's moving someplace remote. (Of course, nowadays, the same social media that makes it easy to do such a thing also makes it easy to uncover such a deception.) Still Leila takes her assignment seriously, and after the transition is complete, becomes even more engrossed (if such a thing is possible), even developing a flirtation with an old flame of Tess. But when the consequences finally catch up to Leila, will she be able to extricate herself from this mess and find a healthier way to connect with the world around her?

Leila is an unconventional protagonist, certainly not most readers' idea of a heroine, but I did become engrossed in her story. It turns into somewhat of a mystery after Tess departs, as I wasn't sure how Leila's deception would be discovered, or how far the author would take it. I admired the way the author didn't shy away from the consequences once Leila's secret came out, but after all that, the book ends on a somewhat upbeat note. I don't have any personal experience with cults, but I could see how someone in Leila's position could be enticed into doing the things she did. From the reviews here, "Kiss Me First" doesn't seem to be everyone's cup of tea, but I enjoyed it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BookLovingLady on August 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Due to the mixed reviews here, I was surprised at how much I loved this book! The prose was seamless, effortless, and I was drawn in to this unique story immediately. The protagonist clearly has Asperger's syndrome though it is never mentioned as such, yet written with such truth as to make her as sympathetic as she is quirky. The other characters are equally fleshed out and developed with remarkable psychological sophistication. The weaving of the suspenseful tale had me spellbound till the end. I see this book as a a must read for unique, intellectual, possibly introverted readers. I particularly enjoyed the two major female characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Laura VINE VOICE on March 29, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really enjoyed this novel. Leila was such a unique, well-drawn character - one that I wish I encountered in literature much more often. I cannot believe this is the author's first novel, as it was written so well. A fabulous psychological thriller for today's social media obsessed world. I highly recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Judith Cranswick on December 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Some novels are best sellers because they are well-written great stories others because they are cleverly marketed. Unfortunately 'Kiss me First' is one of the latter. It is based on an interesting, if unlikely, concept - Leila agrees to take on Tess's online persona after Tess takes her own life - but beyond that, there is no plot, and the promise of future developments as Leila takes on Tess's life never develop. Slow moving with too much self-reflection and little action make the novel heavy reading and the ending simply peters out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Kitto on September 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Leila spends most of her life on the Internet, one day she finds a forum called Red Pill, which discusses philosophical ideas. She feels at home on this site and becomes a regular contributor. One day the creator of the site approaches her with a secret project. Tess is looking for a way to end her life without hurting her friends and family. She asks Leila to continue her online life for her so she can slip away from the world unnoticed.

This will be a hard book to review and I will try not to give away any spoilers that aren't in the book blurb. Written in the style of an online journal, the reader will slowly explore the motivations behind Tess wanting to kill herself, why Leila decides to help and the aftermath that follows. This was a real page-turner and it made me miss forums, but not online journals (I never was good at that) because I have a book blog and it is pretty much an online journal of my reading life.

I love the concept of this book, in a world where we spend most of the time communicating online, what is to say that we are truly communicating with the intended person. Their identity could have been stolen, it could be someone pretending to be someone they are not or someone has taken over their life after they completed suicide. There is no real way to tell that is really happening in the online world.

The Internet is a tricky thing to portray in a novel, with changing technology and new trends, how do you stay relevant. Also do you write the book in text/IM language and use memes and current trends to tell the story? Kiss Me First is not trying to say the Internet and social networking is bad but just using it as a tool to tell this mystery.
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